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A hospital in Cairo
Photo: Wikimedia Commons / Hypermedic

A Coptic Christian young man died on New Year's Eve from a gunshot wound to the head after three hospitals in Cairo turned him away.

Ihab Ghattas, 23, was shot outside Mar Girgis (St. George's) Church in the Ain Shams area of Cairo. Ihab, along with some other young people, had reportedly joined police in defending their church from members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a militant Islamist group, who were protesting outside the building at the time. Ihab was then reportedly shot by one of the protestors.

In a statement released on New Year's Day, the Maspero Youth Union (MYU), a Coptic activist group, claimed that Ihab died because of "negligence" on the part of the several hospitals that refused to treat him. Ihab was reportedly denied access to one hospital because it was deemed not to be an emergency and another due to a lack of beds. The third hospital refused to treat him due to the absence of an intensive care unit. A fourth hospital, St. Peter's in Heliopolis, admitted him, but Ihab died soon afterwards. According to the MYU, Ihab had, by this stage, been "bleeding for three hours." The group has called for an investigation.

Pray that God will comfort the family and friends of Ihab, and that they may rely even more on Him during their time of grief. Ask the Lord to grant wisdom and benevolence to Egyptian authorities so that they may do all they can to protect persecuted minorities. During this time of unrest in Egypt, may He also strengthen and grow His church.